At 100grams, we believe there is significant opportunity in the automotive industry for mobile app usage in the test-drive process. The “test drive” is a key step in the car-sales funnel, however potential car buyers experience unnecessary frictions between their initial desire for a test drive and their subsequent search, booking, and actual test-drive experience. What if a mobile app could remove these frictions in the sales process and lead to more test drives and more car sales for automotive dealers? In this article, we will highlight the shortcomings of current market offerings, discuss the opportunity we see, and present our solution.
There is no shortage of online or mobile marketplaces for the buying and selling of new or used cars. Cars.com, Trovit, Blinker, Instamotor, AutoScout24, and CarGurus each offer a solution to connect buyers and sellers of cars, however this space is massively crowded with competition and little competitive advantage exists for dealers who list cars on these platforms. Additionally, these online and mobile marketplaces’ primary function is to list information on the car (model, miles driven, accident history, features, price, location, photos, etc.) and pass on leads to sales teams at car dealerships. These platforms are largely uninvolved and unhelpful when the buyer needs to interact directly with the car dealership, such as when the buyer wishes to physically see, inspect, and test drive the car.
In order to have a test drive, an interested buyer must currently complete a form on an auto-marketplace website, wait for a call from the dealer or call the dealer themselves, coordinate with the test-drive calendar of the dealer, and then visit the dealership’s physical location for the test drive. This multi-step process is often done over a couple days and through multiple communication platforms (phone, SMS, email, online calendars, etc.). At each link and interaction in this process, a certain percentage of buyers fall out of the sales funnel as they either find a better offer or their attention is simply pulled elsewhere. If this test-drive process could be streamlined, more customers would be retained through the sales funnel and more car sales would occur.
The streamlining of this test-drive process is precisely where we believe there is opportunity for mobile app usage in the automotive industry. If the buyer was able to simply download a dealership-specific mobile app with communication, search, and scheduling capabilities, the multistep and multi-platform communications associated with the current test-drive process would be avoided. Additionally, such an app could use a phone’s location services to assist in the home delivery of test-drive vehicles to potential buyers. Imagine a potential car buyer having the option, all from the convenience of his or her mobile phone, to schedule a test drive where the test-drive vehicle is delivered to his or her location. This painless experience for the buyer would result in more test drives and ultimately more car sales for dealerships that have such a mobile app.
Other capabilities that such an app could feature include: browsing new/used vehicles that are available for test drives, viewing vehicle details such as photos, price breakdown, and financing options, reviewing/rating of vehicles and the test drives of these vehicles, or verifying buyer identification and financial information. Such an app could also include fleet management capabilities for dealerships that manage many test drive vehicles and integration with a dealership’s current Dealership Management System (DMS) software and workflows.
Are you part of a car dealership or a DMS provider? Or are you a car buyer? Let us know your thoughts on how such a mobile strategy could improve your experience in the car selling-buying process.
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